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214 R ecovering, I found myself lying on a couch, in a large, well-lighted room hung about with pictures and adorned with trophies of the hunt. A wide window faced the foot of the bed where I lay, and through it I could see—though the light hurt my eyes greatly—the Levis shore, on the opposite side of the St. Lawrence. I lay and thought, trying to discover where I was. It came to me at last that I was in a room of the Château St. Louis. Presently I heard breathing near me, and, looking over, I saw a soldier sitting just inside the door. Then from another corner of the room came a surgeon with some cordial in a tumbler, and, handing it to me, he bade me drink. He felt my pulse; then stopped and put his ear to my chest, and listened long. “Is there great danger?” asked I. “The trouble would pass,” said he, “if you were stronger. Your life is worth fighting for, but it will be a struggle. That dungeon was slow poison. You must have a barber,” added he; “you are a ghost like this.” I put my hand up, and I found my hair and beard were very long and almost white. Held against the light, my hands seemed transparent . “What means my coming here?” asked I. He shook his head. “I am but a surgeon,” he answered shortly, meanwhile writing with a flourish on a piece of paper. When he had Chapter XIX A Danseuse and the Bastile 215 finished, he handed the paper to the soldier with an order. Then he turned to go, politely bowing to me, but came again and said, “I would not, were I you, trouble to plan escape these months yet. This is a comfortable prison, but it is easier coming in than going out. Your mind and body need quiet. You have, we know, a taste for adventure”—he smiled—“but is it wise to fight a burning powder magazine?” “Thank you, monsieur,” said I, “I am myself laying the fuse to that magazine. It fights for me by-and-bye.” He shrugged a shoulder. “Drink,” said he, with a professional air which almost set me laughing, “good milk and brandy, and think of nothing but that you are a lucky man to have this sort of prison.” He bustled out in an important way, shaking his head and talking to himself. Tapping the chest of a bulky soldier who stood outside, he said brusquely, “Too fat, too fat; you’ll come to apoplexy. Go fight the English, lazy ruffian!” The soldier gave a grunt, made a mocking gesture, and the door closed on me and my attendant. This fellow would not speak at all, and I did not urge him, but lay and watched the day decline and night come down. I was taken to a small alcove which adjoined the room, where I slept soundly. Early the next morning I waked, and there was Voban sitting just outside the alcove, looking at me. I sat up in bed and spoke to him, and he greeted me in an absent sort of way. He was changed as much as I; he moved as one in a dream; yet there was the ceaseless activity of the eye, the swift, stealthy motion of the hand. He began to attend me, and I questioned him; but he said he had orders from mademoiselle that he was to tell nothing—that she, as soon as she could, would visit me. About three hours after this, as I lay upon the couch in the large room, clean and well shaven, the door opened, and some one entered, saying to my guard, “You will remain outside. I have the Governor’s order.” 216 I knew the voice; an instant, and I saw the face shining with expectancy , the eyes eager, yet timid, a small white hand pressed to a pulsing breast—my one true friend, the jailer of my heart! For a moment she was all trembling and excited, her hand softly clutching at my shoulder, tears dripping from her eyes and falling on my cheek, as hers lay pressed to mine; but presently she grew calm, and her face was lifted with a smile, and, brushing back some flying locks of hair, she said in a tone most quaint and touching too, “Poor gentleman! poor English prisoner! poor hidden lover! I ought not, I...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781771120456
Related ISBN
9781771120449
MARC Record
OCLC
966771243
Pages
408
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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